Warning: This article contains spoilers for Age of X-Man: NextGen #1, by Ed Brisson, Marcus To, Jason Keith and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Right now, the X-Men need a little help remembering their history.
Most of Marvel's mutants are trapped in the Age of X-Man, an apparent mutant utopia created by the all-powerful mutant Nate Grey. While it's not totally clear if the Age of X-Man is an alternate world, a parallel timeline or just a projection inside of Nate's head, a decent chunk of the X-Men's has been rewritten since the X-Men landed in this brave new world. While everyone here is a genetically-engineered mutant who lives in a semblance of peace, Nate regularly mind-wipes his fellow mutants to maintain order in his loveless, lonely world.
However, as Age of X-Man: NextGen #1 reveals, one unlikely young X-Man, Glob Herman, seemingly still remembers what really happened, and he could be the key to bringing the X-Men back into the main Marvel Universe.
Thanks to his having a transparent wax-like substance covering his body in place of skin, Glob looks like a walking illustration from a biology textbook. But his apparent knowledge of the X-Men's recent history (their real history, pre-X-Man reality wipe) could make him one of the most important mutants in this world.
While a quick panel in Age of X-Man Alpha #1 hinted at Glob remembering something, this issue confirmed that Glob remembers the events of the recent Uncanny X-Men storyline "X-Men Disassembled," which immediately fed into "Age of X-Man."
At the beginning of this issue, Glob, who's studying agriculture at the Summers Institute for Higher Learning, is mocked by some of his classmates for naming his chickens after Cyclops, Wolverine and Hope Summers, some of the only X-Men who are still roaming around the regular Marvel Universe.
Although Glob still apparently has personal memories of those three X-Men, they're long-dead heroes from a previous generation in this world. As some off-hand comments in Age of X-Man Alpha revealed, both Cyclops and Logan were X-Men at one time, but only exist as memories in Nate Summers' carefully crafted reality.
While Hope is one of Glob's peers in the Marvel Universe, she's apparently Age of X-Man's most important historical figure. In a massive battle called "the Resolution," we learn, Hope gave her life to establish the peaceful world that the mutants currently inhabit.
Later, Glob's friends start teasing him again when they find his "fan fiction," which features all of them fighting alongside the rest of the X-Men.
Although they think his writings are pure fantasy, Glob's writings are actually an accurate recounting of the young mutants' fight with the Mutant Liberation from Uncanny X-Men #1. That encounter kicked off a series of events that culminated in a massive final fight where Nate Grey wiped out several dozen X-Men and seeming sent them into the Age of X-Man.
Given the name of the storyline, it seems safe to assume that Nate Grey, who was formerly a hero called X-Man, played a major role in this world's creation. If that's the case, it may also be why Glob realizes that the Age of X-Man isn't real.
Between Uncanny X-Men #6 and Uncanny X-Men #8, Glob and a few other young X-Men were trapped in a dystopian world that was all in Nate Grey's mind. While they thought they spent years in the Age of Apocalypse, they were really only in a projection of Nate's mind for a few moments. If the Age of X-Man is something similar, Glob could've noticed the telltale signs that mark the world as a Nate Grey creation.
At the end of this issue, Glob attacks his friend Armor with a fiery move he learned while in the Age of Apocalypse illusion. Since she was stuck in there with him, he's most likely trying to jog her memories of their shared time in that illusion and the regular Marvel Universe.
Regardless of whether that effort is successful, Age of X-Man is well on its way to being the most impressive story in Glob's largely unremarkable superhero career. Since Glob was created by Grant Morrison and Ethan van Sciver in 2001's New X-Men #117, the young mutant was part of a student-led riot at Xavier's and has been part of a few teams of young and trainee X-Men.
While he's been a bit player or background character in almost all of his previous appearances, Glob has already started to take some major steps into the spotlight in Age of X-Man. Even though the crossover is still getting going, Glob already has some answers that the X-Men desperately need.
The Age of X-Man will continue in Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1, by Seanan McGuire and Juan Frigeri, on sale Feb. 20.